Dog walkers warned about fatal Alabama Rot outbreak

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Dog walkers around the UK are being warned of the increased number of cases of Alabama Rot being reported. 2017 officially saw the highest number of confirmed cases of the disease, with 37 canines infected, and 2018 hasn’t started much better with 10 cases reported in January alone.

Charity #StopAlabamaRot have put together an interactive map of the reported cases across the UK, giving dog owners and walkers a good idea of the situation in their area.

What is Alabama Rot?

The initial symptoms of Alabama Rot to look out for are sores and lesions, often found on a dog’s lower leg and paws. More often than not these appear red and ulcer-like.  These could appear without any signs of injury or come as a result of an accident or fall.

There may be no sores on the dog’s body at all and other symptoms might be shown. These symptoms include vomiting and lethargy which could be a pointer that something serious is amiss.

Of course, a dog being sick, or having sores on their limbs doesn’t necessarily mean they have contracted Alabama Rot. However, with the current outbreak seemingly continuing to grow, exercising caution in encouraged.

Early diagnosis is the key to treating dogs infected with Alabama Rot. The disease, clinically named as Idiopathic Cutaneous Renal and Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV), and has regularly proved fatal in the cases reported so far.

After the initial symptoms many dogs left untreated go on to develop serious kidney problems that can ultimately result in their death. Dog walkers are advised that if they believe their dog is infected to get veterinary advice.

Can Alabama Rot be prevented?

The cause and root problem of Alabama Rot is not yet known, making prevention tough. A suggestion from some vets has been that walking in muddy areas increases the chance of a dog being infected with the illness. However, there has been no confirmation of the exact cause of the disease.

A large number of cases confirmed in the New Forest National Park in 2014 as well as a host of other more rural cases, could indicate that there is some value in the claim that muddy walks are the problem.

Ultimately the best advice available to dog owners is to wash mud off of your dog after a walk and maintain vigilance for any unusual behaviour or sores.

The likelihood is that confirmed cases will continue to add up in the near future, but by ensuring you are aware of any changes in your canine’s health, you can limit the chances of serious illness in your pet.